BERLIN — Ocean Pines is still on track to remove the remaining portion of the White Tail Sanctuary crabbing pier.
The floating portion of the pier was removed last November by Fisher Marine Construction Inc. The Ocean Pines Board on Oct. 20, 2018 voted unanimously to authorize the work.
Then, on May 4 this year, board members voted 5-0 to allow Fisher Marine to remove the remaining structure. Director Tom Piatti abstained from the vote.
Based on the latest motion, the area is to be restored to a natural wetland and wooded area.
The pier was built as part of the White Tail Sanctuary neighborhood and as such is not considered an amenity to be used by the entire association. The original permit, issued May 3, 1994, stated the pier was intended “for recreational use of abutting residential sections.” A turnover agreement later conveyed the pier to the Ocean Pines Association.
Part of the consideration for removal is based on an evaluation by J. Stacey Hart & Associates, Inc. of Snow Hill. The firm visited the site in April 2018 and concluded, based on a visual inspection, “the existing structure is beyond repair.”
Additionally, a 2007 study suggested “The pier and its surrounding area were not designed and are not maintained to sustain its’ high-occupancy and inappropriate usage.”
Other factors for removal included the remote location and lack of public parking.
According to the May 4 motion, “The location of the pier is such that maintenance and policing are more difficult to accomplish than … a similar pier at Pintail Park or the S & R [Swim and Racquet] Club. Parking will continue to be an issue if the pier is replaced. In addition, even with the installation of security cameras to alert police of an emergency or irresponsible activity the site is not easily accessible by police or emergency vehicles.”
The remaining removal will include the elevated walkway, bike rack, benches and drainage ditch culverts.
Director Frank Daly, at the time, said the pier was a victim of “poor maintenance and inaction” by past boards and association management. He agreed the location made it unsafe.
Association Vice President Steve Tuttle said he would work with Operations Director Colby Phillips and Public Works Director Eddie Wells to evaluate possible alternate locations for a crabbing pier and report back to the board “if we can justify it, to build another pier someplace else in Ocean Pines.”